Capability Development 2019 Round

In October 2019, Predator Free 2050 Limited received applications from students conducting possum, rat or mustelid fieldwork projects, particularly in urban and rural landscapes. Increased knowledge of predator ecology in these landscapes will better guide eradication attempts.

Up to five honours and post-graduate positions were made available and, so far, four students have received funding of up to $30,000 each, for operational and associated laboratory expenses.

Read more about the successful projects below.


Influence of previous predator control on the personality of brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) populations

Student: Amelia Wilson
Institution: The University of Otago
Brief description of research: An investigation into the effect that predator control has on the behavioural variation of brushtail possums across different landscapes in the Otago region
Funded period: 1 December 2019 – 30 November 2020
Outputs: Reports forthcoming

Wellington Rats: A look at home ranges and detection probabilities

Student: Henry Mackenzie
Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Brief description of research: An investigation of urban rat spatial ecology in Wellington City using GPS and VHF collars
Funded period: 1 December 2019 – 31 March 2020
Outputs: Evaluating GPS Tags as a Tool for Rat Monitoring in an Urban Environment: A Case Study in Wellington by Henry Mackenzie, May 2020

Landscape Genetics of Brushtail Possums in New Zealand

Student: Nimeshika Pattabiraman
Institution: Massey University
Brief description of research: An investigation of brushtail possum population genetics, informing on dispersal rates and patterns across different landscapes
Funded period: 1 December 2019 – 30 June 2021
Outputs: Paper – Pattabiraman N, Morgan-Richards M, Powlesland R, Trewick SA (2021) Unrestricted gene flow between two subspecies of translocated brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in Aotearoa New Zealand. Biological Invasions 24: 247–260

Zero Density Possum Maintenance and Consequences for Competing Rats

Student: Therese O’Malley
Institution: The University of Auckland
Brief description of research: An investigation of possum detection and removal at low densities, and their interaction with rats, within Predator Free Taranaki
Funded period: 1 December 2019 – 30 November 2021
Outputs: Reports forthcoming